CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — For the first time since the pandemic began, the Cranston Police Department held an event dedicated to getting to know the community, just as other departments did earlier this month.
“It’s a tough time for law enforcement in general. We can’t do our jobs alone, solving crime and solving problems in our neighborhood, we need the input from our community. By them helping us, we can keep our community safe,” explained Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael Winquist. “We can’t do it alone for sure.”
On Wednesday, Col. Winquist said establishing relationships with the people they serve is an important part of what they do, and many were excited to get back to the event.
“A lot of people out there support us, I know that, but the people that don’t support us, we want to have a conversation and find out why. Where can we strengthen those relationships?”
Several officers attended the event, which was hosted by the Garden City Center, and was also part of its summer concert series.
Community members who attended witnessed Police K9 demonstrations and were able to meet Cali, the department’s therapy and comfort dog.
Col. Winquist says by meeting in a relaxed way, he hopes people can connect and get to know officers on a personal level.
“By speaking to an officer face to face, breaking down barriers if you will, realize we’re human and that you can approach us, we are approachable.” added Winquist.
The event was held only hours after police say a man shot at an officer in Providence, an incident Winquist says often hits home for members of law enforcement.
“Anytime any officer is placed in harm’s way, we are so happy that the officer wasn’t injured, but it gets you thinking, because we deal with a lot of those calls as well,” the chief explained. “Domestic calls are one of the most dangerous calls you go to. We are very glad it worked out the way it did. No one got seriously injured.”
The police chief hopes to hold more community events in the fall.
“There is a lot of crime throughout the country, we are fortunate in Cranston the crime rate is very low. It’s actually been reduced over the last ten years or so, and we want to keep it that way.” said Col. Winquist, “Without our community partners without the citizens, we cant solve these problems.”